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Notebook: Wings hope to avoid history

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT -- With the Stars’ Game 5 win, the series suddenly jumped from 3-0 Detroit to a much closer 3-2. Only two teams in NHL history have lost a series after taking a 3-0 series lead – the Toronto Maples Leafs in 1942 and the New York Islanders of 1975.  Both comebacks were 33 years apart, and this season is the 33 since the last.

“It doesn't really matter what history is,” Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We still have to bear down and play well going into Dallas. That's the main focus. You can't think about what's been going on in the past.”

Lidstrom said that even though the Red Wings have lost two straight, there is pressure on both squads heading into Game 6.

“There's pressure on both teams,” he said. “If they lose one game, the series is over. If we win, it's over, too. I don't really feel that pressure. The thing is you have to be ready to play the game that's coming up. You can't think too far ahead.”

Dallas center Steve Ott had different things to say after Game 5.

“We’re still in a do or die situation,” Ott said, “but we’re having a lot of fun with it. We felt that pressure big-time against San Jose. We were going into our own building to try to close it out. Now we’re going back to Dallas to tie it up here. To be feeling pressure, they absolutely are. We’re playing with a bunch of confidence, (Marty) Turco’s playing great, our four lines are rolling and our ‘D’ looks pretty solid.”

GAME 5 WOES: The Red Wings have not clinched a playoff series at home since 2002, when they won the Stanley Cup on home ice over the Carolina Hurricanes. 

The Red Wings have historically struggled in Game 5, compiling a 33-35 record. In their last 10 playoff series, the Red Wings are 5-4 in Game 5. They swept Colorado in the previous round.

When leading 3-1, the Red Wings are 7-9 all-time, and 6-5 at home. Detroit lost to Dallas in Game 5 of their 1998 series, but won the next game to win the series 4-2. In 1995, the Red Wings won Game 5 against the Stars to clinch the series 4-1.

SECONDARY SCORING: A team’s star players win games, but a team’s secondary scoring forwards get them through the playoffs. Johan Franzen was taking care of that department (13 goals), but nobody has stepped up to fill the Mule’s skates.

The Red Wings’ top scoring line of Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have scored a total of 47 points, but Jiri Hudler is the only other player with double-digit points. Mikael Samuelsson has eight points and Valtteri Filppula has six.

Since Franzen was removed from the line-up before Game 2, the only forward to score are Hudler (two goals) and Darren Helm (one goal).

“We've got a lot of great players in this room,” Hudler said. “They've been in situations more difficult than this. We're still up 3-2. We're the team that right now is up. We've got to do the same things. We scored two goals in two games. It's not gonna happen, we're not gonna win.”

POWER PLAY LIFE: The Stars had an 8-3 advantage in shots early in the first period, and took a 1-0 lead on Trevor Daley’s first goal of the postseason. But everything changed when the Red Wings found themselves on back-to-back power plays in the second half of the period.

The Wings got good pressure on the first, an interference call on Mike Modano, which changed the game’s momentum in favor of Detroit. Helm drew another interference penalty, this time on Daley, which led to Hudler’s power-play goal to tie the game. By the end of the first period, the Wings had out-shot Dallas, 14-10. 

The Wings’ goal in the first snapped a 0-for-13 drought on the power play. Detroit had not scored a power-play goal since Zetterberg’s tally 15 minutes into Game 2.

DRAKE, KRONWALL DELIVER: Dallas Drake re-introduced himself to Stars center Toby Petersen during the first period, knocking him over twice in one shift. With Detroit down 1-0, Drake took the ice and dished out three game-changing hits on one shift -- two on Petersen and one on Stephane Robidas.

Niklas Kronwall kept the hitting going in the first, finding yet another open-ice victim along the opposing blue line. He found right winger Antti Miettinen with around 90 seconds remaining in the first, and stood him up with a big shoulder hit. Kronwall had 27 hits in the postseason, coming into Saturday’s Game 5.

DOMINATING FACE OFFS: The Red Wings won 67 percent of the face offs in Game 5. Detroit leads the league in face offs, winning 54 percent of the draws coming into Saturday’s contest.

The Stars have won only 46 percent of their face offs. Every Red Wing, who took more than four face offs had a winning face off percentage. Here’s a breakdown of how all the face-off men in Saturday’s game performed inside the circle.

Henrik Zetterberg - 14-20 / 70%
Kris Draper – 17-19 / 89% (won all seven draws in the first)
Valtteri Filppula – 7-12 / 58%

Mike Modano – 3-9 / 33%
Toby Petersen – 3-14 / 21%
Steve Ott - 7-18 / 39%
Brad Richards - 4-11 / 36%

STARS’ POWER OUTAGE: Before the Western Conference final, the Stars power play was the best in the league, scoring on 25 percent of their opportunities. The Stars’ power play is 2-23 in the series.
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